Tag Archives: new orleans

Bannos and Lagasse, A Blast From Their Past

Every great chef has things in their culinary history that helps to define their future. Jimmy Bannos of Chicago’s Heaven on Seven is certainly no exception.

I LOVE going any of his restaurants. And, when I was full time in the Windy, I spent more than a few lunchtimes planted on a counter stool at the Wabash location savoring some of the best gumbo to come out of any kitchen, anywhere.

On a recent trip back, the allure of a bowl of etouffee or jambalaya or maybe even an LSD (Louisiana Soul Deluxe) was far to much for my weak self control. A Heaven on Seven fix was required.

My lunch measured up in every expected way. But, my trip to the rear of the restaurant turned up an unexpected piece of kitchen camaraderie. Straight from the walls of Heaven on Seven on Rush.

Jimmy Bannos & Emeril Lagasse

Pretty great right? I’m not sure of the time or location. It looks like it may have been taken at an event of some sort. They look happy, but not exhausted from barking out orders in a hectic kitchen all night. Maybe one of the two can time/date stamp this little piece of the past for us.

It’s pretty well known that Jimmy honed his craft in some of the great kitchens of the Crescent City. And, when you do that you’re obviously rubbing shoulders with some pretty masterful chefs. Here’s a little photographic evidence that the two of those talents actually enjoy each other. It’s a pretty simple image. But, it still manages to say a mouthful.


Heaven on Seven
Emeril’s Restaurants
I Made Jimmy’s Famous Gumbo!
The Heaven on Seven Cookbook: Where It’s Mardi Gras All the Time!

The Queen of Creole Cooking Knows Her Stuff


When people call you “the queen of…”, there are expectations.

Lena Richard - New Orleans Cookbook

There are lots of self-proclaimed experts running around today, tooting their own horn. Saying you’re an expert is easy. Proving it, is another matter.

Lena Richard, is a true expert using anyone’s yard stick. From the time she open her cooking school in 1937, up until the time of her death in 1950, Lena reigned as the undisputed Queen of Creole Cooking.

Her simply titled, New Orleans Cookbook, is still an timeless guide to the cuisine, techniques and food culture of one the country most delicious regions. Written back in 1940, this classic is a throw back to a time when molecular gastronomy might have been a condition that would send you to see a doctor rather than a culinary style. This book is the “anti Modernist Cuisine. 139 pages of cooking ease and not a drop of liquid nitrogen in sight.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Lena was not only known for her simple, yet elegant dishes, but, for being a trailblazer too. From 1947 to 1949 she appeared on New Orleans TV in her own cooking show. No big deal today. But, back in the 1940’s, in the south, it was a huge deal. She ran and operated four separate restaurants during her life. In Lena’s places blacks and whites sat side by side. Like I said, a trailblazer.

Chapters in this little gem of a cookbook run the gamut from compotes to pastries to stuffings and everything else a southern cook could want to serve their family or guests. The chapter on, Uses for Leftovers (a full five paragraphs long), perfectly sums up the simplicity of the time.

If you are a lover of New Orleans cuisine or history this is a cookbook that deserves a special place in your collection. Thankfully, it’s still available for all to savor.

BUY IT - New Orleans CookbookAuthor: Lena Richard
Paperback: 158 pages
Publisher: Pelican Publishing
ISBN-10: 1565545885



BUY IT - New Orleans Cookbook